Control-freaky dress code at a boutique

Discuss

201 Responses to “Control-freaky dress code at a boutique”

  1. nosehat says:

    I agree that requiring the signatures might tip the scales from “professional” to “mean and weirdly controlling”, but I wonder:  Is this kind of thing all that unusual for high end retailers?

    How your clerks look is part of the “brand” at a place like this, just like it is at a fast food place with colorful hats or whatever.  This doesn’t strike me as particularly weird.

  2. blueelm says:

    Unless their men wear makeup and paint their finger and toe nails then that dress code is definitely not for “everyone” there.

  3. Huwman says:

    I’m s-o-o-o  glad I work at home and for myself. “Pantsless Fridays” are not uncommon.

  4. darrrrrrn says:

    I know someone who used to work for American Apparel & their internal company blog is pretty much just the head of the company posting Do’s and Don’ts for staff appearance. I can’t remember them all, but he would go into a store, take photos of the staff and then point out what they were doing wrong, plucked eyebrows, wrong shoes etc.  It was also pretty heavily bent towards telling female employees what to look like rather than the guys.

  5. MB44 says:

    Shame on this employer for holding it’s employees to a standard of appearance in an industry that is based on a standard of appearance. It is like requiring that a carpenter bring his/her hammer to work. Not that offensive. 

    • Guest says:

      Not to you- most likely because you’ve never had someone look you up and down like you were a piece of meat, and demote/fire/give you less shifts because of not looking fuckable enough.

      • MB44 says:

           I don’t know about that doctress, I am pretty delicious looking… As for being demoted/fired for my looks, well you are right, that has never happened. But I am sure that it is due to my gender and not because I am good at what I do and I work my fucking ass off. 
           I have seen this type of dress code at companies that are ran by women and managed by women. The motive in the fashion industry is profit and if coming to work at a high-end boutique looking like you just woke up made these parasites money then that is exactly what they would require in the dress code. There are requirements at places like this for male and female attire, this just happens to be a picture of the standards for the females. Like I said in my first post, there are man choices available to people that hate this dress code. The first and most appealing one in my book is to quit.

  6. bkad says:

    I don’t know what Deauville, Baroque n’ Roll, and Neo-Boureois are, but then I’m an engineer and not a fashion retailer. Also, I am a man, and fashion is an area where I suspect a double standard applies between what is expected of women and what is expected of men. I’m curious, if there are men working at this retailer, if they are also expected to sign.

    From my point of view, having to sign something like this is a sign of a crappy job. Having a stated and enforced dress code is one thing, and maybe that’s typical for fashion retailer. But being forced to sign a statement just underscores that your employer has no trust or respect in you whatsoever.

  7. ophmarketing says:

    I think when you’ve gotten to the point where you’re mandating makeup, you’re more than just a little out of control.

    • Thax says:

      Makeup is used to present a person’s face to the world.  In a retail environment,  “the world” means “the inside of the store (or mall, or restaurant or whatever).”  If the face that is presented does not represent the image the company wants to convey, it can reflect negatively upon the business itself.  The same goes for clothing that is unkempt.  

      • blueelm says:

        No, not a person’s face. It is used to signal the proper subservience in a woman, which in turn justifies paying her less per hour or in fact in general as her PhD will some day be worth less than a male’s BA. So, no. It is not a “face” at all, but a veil much like any other used to hide the human from the world.

  8. Nick Gold says:

    Many workplaces have dress codes.  While I’ve never worked for a fashion boutique and don’t plan to, it doesn’t really surprise me or offend my sensibilities that they too have dress codes, and that theirs might be a bit more specific and demanding than those in the non-fashion world.  The only part I think is off-base is makeup — I like my ladies natural, most makeup bothers me.  Seriously though, flip-flops?  Someone needs to tell people who wear flip-flops all over the place that they are for the pool, beach, and shower at the gym.

    • BookGuy says:

      I used to work with a guy, in an office setting, who frequently wore board shorts and flip flops.  I’m no fashion plate myself, but I always wondered why people thought that flip-flop duck walk was appropriate for every day/work fashion.

      • Forkboy says:

        >  I always wondered why people thought that flip-flop duck walk was appropriate for every day/work fashion

        A million times this. And people who wear a hat indoors, or play music out loud in public places  on cellphone speakers (with really crappy bass) or the guy who was clipping his friggin’ toenails on the train the other day. I don’t know if they just genuinely were raised without manners or it’s some passive aggressive “I just don’t give a f*” pose from overgrown adolescents.

        Somewhat related :

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kl5vihsERDw

        • Hollow says:

          I wear a hat where ever I go, otherwise my balding head from cancer would obviously cause STARES…. OR is that what you would prefer?  Some people don’t like to cause a “STIR” and my ugly bald head tends to do that… Awkward.

          • Forkboy says:

            > I wear a hat where ever I go, otherwise my balding head from cancer would obviously cause STARES…. OR is that what you would prefer?

            Look my mother died of cancer; you think she got less stares if she wore her wig or wore a hat ? I think most people would give cancer patients a free pass because it’s generally understood that the head covering is out of acute embarrassment, not lack of manners. Just understand that when you wear your hat  if people don’t comment it’s out of sympathy to your plight, if you wanted to be treated like a regular Joe you’d be better off just going bald. Until we have 24th century holographic technology people will stare, there is unfortunately no hiding.

            PS. I know I sound like a dick above, but I sincerely wish you, and your family, a lot of strength going ahead. May you beat whatever odds you’re up against and live to love for many more years.

          • Guest says:

            I’m sure your bald head is beautiful. :)

        • What’s wrong with wearing a hat indoors?

          • Forkboy says:

            >What’s wrong with wearing a hat indoors?
            A hat is meant to keep the sun out of your eyes and/or  to cover your head out of (originally religious) modesty in public. It’s considered bad form to wear a hat indoors. A hat is removed out of respect for those present, a  gentleman who keeps his hat on looks like he is ready to leave the building at any second.

            http://ask.metafilter.com/186912/Still-rude-to-wear-a-hat-indoors
            http://www.gq.com/style/style-guy/accessories/200305/hat-etiquette

          • What other 1950s etiquette rules have I been unknowingly violating all these years?!

          • penguinchris says:

            Probably quite a few. Most, these days, are unnecessary – and people who follow 50′s etiquette rules regarding clothing etc. (and there are more people who do this than you may think) are just silly.

            But if you want to project an air of elegance or, at the least, respect for others – it helps to at least know the “rules” such as not wearing a hat indoors. Who do you respect more when meeting a stranger – someone who is decently dressed, appropriate to the setting, or someone who just threw on whatever they had that wasn’t dirty (i.e. most people)? Someone who put on a jacket at a nicer restaurant, or someone wearing a sports jersey and baseball cap at that same restaurant?

          • Peter says:

            So, in other words, there’s nothing wrong with wearing a hat indoors, just that some “we” has decided that it’s wrong to do so.

            A hat is “meant” to do whatever we mean it to do.  If we mean it to cover bald spots, and it does, it’s doing its job.  If we mean it to keep our hair from straying, and it does, it’s doing its job.  If we mean it to give us a comforting tight feeling around our head, and it does, it’s doing its job.  Inside or outside.

            Clothes, after all, were meant to protect from the elements and/or to cover the body out of (usually religious) modesty.  So, in any climate controlled environment, we should strip down to the minimum of those, correct?  I’d say it’s a sign of respect for those who put in the air conditioning.  I’m not saying you have to get completely naked, maybe just to something like a bikini, to protect the furniture (and it still preserves modesty of the ‘naughty bits’).

            The prohibition against hats indoors, like all other aspects of fashion fascism, does nothing useful except to attempt to humiliate people who don’t fit in.  And I say this as someone who only wears a toque (, eh?), outdoors when it’s below freezing.  Just because I don’t like them means there’s something wrong with somebody else wearing them.

          • purple-stater says:

            There’s no “prohibition” about wearing a hat indoors, it’s called manners.  It’s been a sign of respect to the person who’s house you’re in for a couple dozen centuries.

          • Peter says:

            “Manners” is too often just an excuse when you don’t want to think something through.  Manners evolve.  A lot of times, manners are arbitrary anyway.   The question was, “what’s wrong with wearing a hat indoors”, and when you answer manners, you’re just saying “well, it simply isn’t DONE!” without giving an actual reason.

            I’m all for respect, but we can go too far.  It might be a sign of respect to bow deeply to somebody when you enter their home, that doesn’t mean we should look down on people who don’t do it.  Now, if you were at somebody’s house and they said “please, take your hat off”, it might be legitimately poor manners to refuse… their house, their rules.  Personally, in my house, I’d consider it bad manners, very bad manners, to ask someone to be uncomfortable just to give me a sign of respect.  So if a hat makes them more comfortable, for whatever reason, by all means, I respect that choice.

            But we’re not just talking about people’s houses, we’re talking about ‘indoors in general’.  Even in a public place, if it happens to be indoors, people tut-tut if you wear a hat, as if removing it should automatically be the default state, and as if you’re personally insulting THEM, if you don’t go along with it.   And that’s bull.  Bull with centuries of tradition behind it is still bull.

          • Forkboy says:

            Manners are rules society has come up with to help all of us get along while we’re crammed in towns and cities together. They may be arbitrary  but when you break them you’re basically saying to everyone around you that you care more about yourself and your own comfort than getting along with others. So yes with bad manners you DO insult everyone around you personally.

            In your example it would be bad manners for the host to require his guest to take off his hat, but it would be equally bad manners for the guest not to offer to take his hat off. It’s not about comfort, people might be more comfortable eating with their hands, that doesn’t mean you should do it in company.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            It’s been a sign of respect to the person who’s house you’re in for a couple dozen centuries.

            You might want to Google the history of costume. The Middle Ages, the Renaissance and the Enlightenment have a message for you.

          • Tommy Timefishblue says:

            Ever hear of a cocktail hat? Ever been to a church?

            The worst thing about fashion rules is the people who only have a vague idea of them from hearing references to them on tv or in movies or something but go full Fashion Police on everyone. People with really pathetic class anxiety issues. I bet you would harrumph at some guy for wearing a white shirt after Labour Day.

            Relax. It doesn’t matter. They’re clothes. Worry about important things.

        • Marc Mielke says:

          I can’t understand this. Clothes make no sense at all to me, so I tend to just wear what other people pick out for me. When this doesn’t happen, I’ve worn a Hellblazer T-Shirt to a funeral, and didn’t realize this was wrong until someone pointed it out. 

          For me trying on clothes is a kind of personal hell. When I was younger, my mother would make me try on clothes and select things based on utterly arcane shit I still don’t understand at 40, like ‘the crotch length is too long’, or ‘the cuff stops at the top of the ankle’. 

          Really, no matter what I do I still think I look like a particularly ugly ape in the mirror anyway, which is why I don’t really care about what clothes I choose. 

      • Phoc Yu says:

        I work with a gentleman who wears the same in our casual office.  He also wears sunglasses inside.  I don’t know how anyone would think it’s OK to wear your beach outfit in an office, even if we’re only 200 miles from the ocean.

  9. Forkboy says:

    I don’t see the problem, when you work with clients you are the public face of the company and that means that part of your job is to project the company image by being courteous and dressing the part. You don’t walk into a bank and expect to see the manager or teller in bermuda shorts and flip flops, the same when you walk into a fashionable boutique. If you want to project your personal style do it in your private life not when representing a third party paying you to do so.

    • Thomas Shaddack says:

      Why not? A suit a good manager makes not, as Yoda would say. I don’t care if the manager and/or teller is naked or not, I care only about their competence. And if they wear something they feel comfortable in, the better for me as they are less stressed and can focus better at their role.

      • flarktobble says:

        @boingboing-79bd2e9fd8400fb610d59e4f0e1019f3:disqus 

         I don’t care if the manager and/or teller is naked or not, I care only about their competence.

        For a fashion boutique, wouldn’t your mode of dress be the most obvious expression of competence?Like a lot of the other commenters here, I’m not sure I understand the outrage.  To me, this is the moral equivalent of a software house having a style guide for coding.

        • Tommy Timefishblue says:

          Maybe if you were selling your body.

        • Guest says:

          Of course you don’t understand. You don’t have to, either. You aren’t objectified and sexualized on a daily (yes, DAILY) basis. Privilege, you haz it. Big time.

          • flarktobble says:

            @doctressjulia:disqus

            Of course you don’t understand…Privilege…

            Fair enough.   I’m more than willing to accept that I may be missing the point because I don’t generally have to directly suffer from it, so would you mind if I tried to clarify and understand?

            First, I completely agree that objectification and sexualization of women is both rampant and horrible, and something that should be fought (it’s certainly not the norm that I’d like my daughters to have to deal with).  It’s an insidious form of dehumanization that too often gets lost in the drive to make our world and culture better, not the least because it is so prevalent at so many levels.  If your assertion is that the “fashion industry” offers an overwhelmingly negative effect on our culture in general, and on individual girls and women specifically, I’m in complete agreement.  If you believe that dress codes are (generally speaking) at best a waste of time and at worst a sexist power play intended to preserve gender subservience, then you’ve got my vote. 

            My basis for the original comment goes something like this:
            1. The core business of the store is to sell both the clothes themselves and the idea that an arbitrary customer could be “fashionable” in them.
            2. It is not unsurprising that an employer would expect an employee to support the core business.  It may not be why the employee took the job, and it may not be something that the employess can do in good conscience, but it is most likely why the employer hired them. 
            3. In this narrowly-defined case, an employee can most obviously express competence in selling both the clothes and the idea of the target fashion by wearing those clothes, something along the lines of, “see, I can make it work, so I can help you make it work, too.”

            It is based on these premises, in this specific case, with this specific policy, that I didn’t understand the outrage.  I can understand outrage at the store itself (in that it promulgates the idea that you must adhere to some arbitrary “look” to be valuable), and I can understand the outrage at a dress code in a non-dress-related business, but (in the generalized case), I can’t understand the outrage at a business expecting its employees to demonstrate support of, and competence in, the core mission of the business.

            So given all that, what’s the point or points that I’m missing?  Is it that a fashion boutique has such an abhorrence of a core mission that any discussion of items within that context is meaningless?  Are dress codes (or what they represent) so fundamentally broken that they transcend the idea of competence and ability, or otherwise make allegory useless in this case?  Is the final premise (successfully wearing the target fashion expresses competence in the idea of that fashion’s accessibility) — or either of the others — false?

    • Guido says:

      When I went to Toronto in 06, I saw a bank teller with dreadlocks. It made my day. It gave me a great impression of Canada

    • Guest says:

       How about American Apparel kick their ladies some makeup and Deauville garb? Eh?

    • Guest says:

      Of course you don’t ‘see the problem’. You don’t have to, since it likely doesn’t affect you. How conveeeeenient.

  10. Rachael Dennis says:

    Ouf. I certainly don’t wish to know what her stance is on afros/”political hairstyles”. ?????????

  11. gloriana232 says:

    Grooming requirements beyond “clean” tend to be too much for me. I have zero coordination when it comes to hairstyling so I brush and go. I can’t handle make-up either. I try my best not to be offensive, but everyone’s standards are different — a clean but bare face is normal to some, borderline repugnant to others. A little absurd but true.

    That said, since I *know* I couldn’t hack these kinds of appearance requirements, I’ve never worked at a fancy clothing retailer (that is, fancy enough for a particular image that requires some kind of skill to maintain). I feel sorry for people who aren’t comfortable with make-up but need to make money at this kind of retail job, but there ARE plenty of women who are super into make-up and put it on every day anyway. Those people are suited for this workplace. It’s not that crazy.

  12. I bet they fire one of those girls in a few weeks now that they have her signature on that thing. “Stacy E., you are just too unkempt for us!” 

  13. What_a_Crock says:

    This is why fashion, as an industry, is dying.  The rise of the DIY and Handmade movement is so much more appealing, not to mention forgiving.  Who wants to live and work in a world where your appearance is tyrannically scrutinized like that?  I think people are passing on “high fashion” and opting for a more mature approach…  

    Hasn’t this kind of “branding” (i.e. social engineering for one’s pocket book) obviously become the sign of an industry in desperation?  When you start saying “this is the right way to look” and then punishing those who don’t fit your criteria, your sending a message that is the opposite of “dress to your heart and you’ll be confident and people will like you.”  It’s just stereotypical fashion fascism, something too many people can see right through and are rapidly getting over it.  The industry as a whole is too fragile to continue like it’s developed, and it’s incapable of change.  This little dress code is simply a trickle-down example of fear and anxiety.

    I wouldn’t want to be an employee of that boutique–their customers will eventually respond to their cookie-cutter appearance as insecure desperation, and turn off, and their storefront will close around them.  

    • Hollow says:

      Not to mention should one of their employees suddenly gain weight, have allergies, or other uncontrolled response to the environment, wouldn’t they be required by this paper to fire them? In so doing violating the discrimination law? Wonder if EEO would take that case?

      • Rindan says:

        Not to mention should one of their employees suddenly gain weight, have allergies, or other uncontrolled response to the environment, wouldn’t they be required by this paper to fire them? In so doing violating the discrimination law? Wonder if EEO would take that case?

        My little brother works for A&F, so I have a little insight into how they handle this.  Basically, if you work up front where the public can see you, you don’t sign a normal employment contract.  You sign a modeling contract.  A modeling contract, more or less, lets the employer fire employees for getting ugly, fat, or whatever.  Further, this is all very up front.  You literally can not get a job at one of these places (in the store front) unless you are pretty, and they state this bluntly to your face and in the contract you sign.    In other words, this is all above board completely legal nastiness.

        The entire main stream fashion industry is vapid, hollow, and generally wretched to human dignity.  I am sure there are exceptions, but I don’t think you can touch the main stream fashion industry without either being incredibly stupid and oblivious to the horrors going around you, or (if you are a self aware human) simply losing your soul.

        • Ambiguity says:

          The entire main stream fashion industry is vapid, hollow, and generally wretched to human dignity.

          You can say that again!

          I actually suffer from a little cognitive dissonance whenever BB posts fashion stories. I mean, it just doesn’t fit with a lot of the other stuff on the site, which tends to be non-vapid.

      • Guest says:

        Doubt it… I speak from experience, unfortunately. :(

  14. Nylund says:

    I want to understand what Deauville, Baroque n’ Roll, and Neo Bourgeois are.  Are these commonly understood terms in fashion? 

    • Guest says:

      They are some of the thousands of distractions required to stop people from taking a good long look at their actual life. 

    • They’re specific clothing brands that the store carries, not fashion movements in and of themselves. It’s likely they want their employees to wear their clothing as part of their branding.

  15. MythicalMe says:

    I really have no problem with any of this. It’s an employer reminding employees of a policy that perhaps is getting lapse. As for signing, a lot of corporations (especially retailers) do this to ensure that all employees have seen the document.

  16. holyalmost says:

    I can’t believe this,  but I agree with pretty much everything on that dress code except the required manicures,pedicures and the signature agreement.  The owner is trying to maintain a brand and I can’t fault her with that.  I’m not sure if it’s a worldwide trend, but where I live it’s not uncommon to have job seekers apply wearing pajama pants and I ate at a sit down restaurant today where several waitresses were trying to pass their yoga pants off ass black dress pants (the neon colored waistbands were a dead give away). But if dressing in Baroque n’ Roll clothing and getting mani/ pedi’s costs the employees a whole paycheque a month (or more) then that is completely unreasonable.

  17. jacklaughing says:

    This a boutique in Caesar’s Palace, so while it’s annoying and probably sounds insane I would expect some minimum requirements for dress and presentation. Most retail establishments have something along these lines and the higher end you go, the more effort you’re required to make.

    And since when is signing a employee-reqs doc all that new or awful? I’ve worked for very laid back businesses as small as 10 people that require this. It’s so that if you, the employee, violate the rules, you can be fired without the potential for a lawsuit. It’s not the employer’s fault that America is the most litigious society on the planet. We’re all to blame for that one.

    • bigmike7 says:

      Nothing wrong with making them sign a policy statement but the statement should just be a listing of this season’s requirements with no insinuations the employees are as dumb as chickens and unkempt to boot. No blaming for past transgressions or pointing out the idiocy of not wearing dark jeans.

      Everyone knows it was Stacy E. that wore the light blue jeans last Monday and that it is Tamara that can’t afford to get pedicures. I think Anna is a #1 bitch for making her employees sign their names to what amounts to a public shaming ritual.

    • bkad says:

      And since when is signing a employee-reqs doc all that new or awful? I’ve worked for very laid back businesses as small as 10 people that require this. It’s so that if you, the employee, violate the rules, you can be fired without the potential for a lawsuit. It’s not the employer’s fault that America is the most litigious society on the planet. We’re all to blame for that one.

      I was going to say something about “At Will Employment” — if you can be terminated at any time for any non-prejudicial reason, why bother with a form? But it seems that according to wikipedia Nevada has exceptions that make terminating employees on a whim difficult. Maybe that’s why they need to sign? It’s particular to the state? Maybe a lawyer can comment on this.

    • Guest says:

      “We’re all to blame”

      especially those of us that blythely sign away our rights and make excuses why other people should too.

  18. soubriquet says:

    “High end fashion ” and “denim jeans” in the same sentence?
    They set off my oxymoron alarms.

  19. Lisa B says:

    You’re working for a retail fashion outlet where you are representing a brand and a certain look.  This isn’t out there as far as dress codes, imo. Talk to the cocktail waitresses that work there about their standards.

  20. travtastic says:

    I’ve never actually seen Neo-Boureois used without irony or judgement. It’s so quaint.

  21. Denise * says:

    I have no problem with the requiremnts, most jobs come with some sort of dress code. 

    That said, wearing Sindys, Cintias, or any other lady sound like something that will get you thrown in jail.

  22. pharkwar says:

    I don’t think the signature thing is as insidious as you’re making it out. I end up signing three or four memos a month at my job in order to acknowledge that I’ve read about policy changes. Granted, I work in a very different industry than this company, but I imagine it’s not that unusual a practice.

  23. Rindan says:

    Meh.  I have no rage.  Don’t work there.  I personally wouldn’t work at a place that has an annoying dress code, but I don’t do a public facing job.  If I worked in a public facing job, I am sure I would have to dress in whatever asinine style the industry in question has.  That goes double and triple if I worked in the fashion industry.  

    Don’t get me wrong, I think it is dumb, but there is a good reason why I don’t work in the fashion industry.  I mean seriously… people in the fashion industry being held to vapid superficial standards!?  OMFG.

    As far as making employees sign the policy, I am actually for it.  If you are going to enforce a policy that could result in a worker getting disciplined or fired over, you damn well should have to prove that you communicated it to them.  Signing something like that might be annoying, but I bet getting fired or yelled at because you didn’t conform to some stupid dress style is even more annoying.

  24. DQKennard says:

    Baroque ‘n Roll is *so* 2010, and Neo-Bourgeois is still just bourgeois. *sniff*

  25. Art says:

    Their shop.  Their rules.

    It’s business.  Not grammar school/ self expression time.

    • travtastic says:

      I feel exactly the same way. I hear their next memo is scheduled to be ‘Being pregnant is not an excuse to look nasty and homely, you slugs‘.

      It’s fashion, amirite?

  26. bigmike7 says:

     I would NOT want to see Anna personally if I needed styling tips. She sounds so condescending and demeaning.

    “This is the fall season.  SO DRESS LIKE IT.” . . . “This should be a no-brainer”. 

    I do find this behavior very insulting. It’s fine to have a dress code, but another to make the employees sign a statement admitting themselves as unkempt and pea-brained.

    Also, something does not sit right about them all having to sign the same sheet of paper.  It’s like a group humiliation ritual.

  27. dustin_wyatt says:

    This has all been covered in previous comments, but to summarize:

    1.  This is a fashion store.  Requiring employees to reflect that in their own dress isn’t “control-freaky”.

    2.  It’s very common to have employees sign this sort of thing.  It proves that they were informed of the requirements.

    3.  I’m surprised that this is controversial.

    • Hollow says:

      I bet you dollar to donuts that they don’t compensate their employees for 100.00 pairs of jeans, and 50.00 manicure and pedicures, and I guarantee you MEN are not held to this standard and are PAID more even.  You don’t get to have double standard like that, it’s not right and I would bring a complaint to the EEO.

      • lunchcoma says:

        They probably require employees to buy the store’s jeans, and they probably do get a discount. Getting a manicure and a pedicure would be a miserable burden, though, and it has some nasty carryover into what you look like when you’re off the job. That’s the most objectionable requirement in my opinion.

        My guess would be there’s not a single man working at this place, with the possible exception of an owner or manager. And, yeah, that’s wrong. Someone should do a hiring discrimination of women’s clothing boutiques at some point, but as it is, I suspect few men apply for those jobs and people let it slide.

      • Guest says:

        I WISH something would be done. I’ve been looking for better jobbage for a long time (fuckn depression) and many ads ask for photos of you, head shots, etc. It is illegal , but they do it anyway. Lookism, ageism, sizeism, argh. Unless you’re a 20 something, hipster-like ‘hottie’, you are pretty much outta luck.

    • bigmike7 says:

      Well, what are the requirements, really? This is not so much a list of requirements as it is a gripe about the fashion trangressions this past month. You can easily imagine next week when Stacy E wears silver jacquard instead of gold there will have to be a whole new signing ritual where everyone has to acknowlege that silver is not part of the Baroque and Roll look and that that is a “no-brainer”.

      This manager should just make a friendly, not insulting, listing of this season’s requirements since she apparently believes she is the only one with a fall fashion sense. If one particular employee is a flagrant violator, then she should be counseled individually.

  28. kartwaffles says:

    Everybody should go to this store and ask for help in putting together an ensemble in the style of Deauville, Baroque n’ Roll, or Neo-Bourgeois. Seriously. Because I wonder what they heck those styles even look like.

  29. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    A fashion botique is the kind of place I’d expect this sort of obsession with looks.  I don’t see how this is “control-freaky”.  If you don’t like it work someplace where you aren’t selling fashion to the public.

  30. Flip flops, otherwise known as, “shower shoes,” shouldn’t be allowed at any work of any kind unless you’re a life guard or work at a public pool.

    • Thomas Shaddack says:

      Why? And what gives you the right to dictate the wardrobe of others?

    • bigmike7 says:

      “Flip flops, otherwise known as, “shower shoes,” shouldn’t be allowed at
      any work of any kind unless you’re a life guard or work at a public
      pool.”

      What if you work at a surfwear retail shop? What if you sell your produce at a farmer’s market in the summertime and shoes/socks give you foot fungal problems in the heat? What if your work is Thai massage and you want something easy to remove before working barefoot? What if you work at the retail shop in Caesar’s Palace and Anna makes you wear high fashion Sindys and Ladies in the summertime because they sell those same sandals?

      I have a friend who is an astronomer for Keck Observatories here in Hawaii and flip-flops are allowed in the office, not when representing the telescopes to the public. What’s wrong with that?

      • kartwaffles says:

        Rubber slippers might be pretty cold up on Maua Kea, don’t you think? I’ve heard that a lot of astronomers telecommute from sea level for most observations.

        • bigmike7 says:

          They have offices at lower elevation. This is where most astronomers work most of the time, even those that commute to the summit. Yes, no one wears flip flops at the observatory.

        • Marc Mielke says:

          It’s never cold in Hawaii. I’ve lived here all my life, and can’t stand wearing a shirt unless I’m in air conditioning, even in winter. People wear flip-flops everywhere mainly because covered shoes are nothing but sweat generators. 

      • Nylund says:

        I’m reminded of Paul Krugman who regularly wears shorts and sandals at Princeton, but keeps a suit coat, shirt, and tie in the office for the “above the waist” shots when they film him for “talking head” appearances on various news and politics programs.

        In fact, when going on job interviews at university economic departments, us grad students are often told to not wear suits.  That’s for businessmen.  We’re wacky academics and we should dress like it.  Shorts and unkempt beards are the norm.

        • Guest says:

          And, the female ‘academics’? Do they dress wacky too and have unkempt beards? I see male is default if you’re a grad student, apparently… :/

      • Forkboy says:

        Don’ t be obtuse. Of course it’s entirely context dependent.  That said in the vast majority of contexts flip flops are entirely inapparopriate. Even in a closed office envirmonment the flip flop, based on the shlepping sound it produces and the fact it exposes the often fragrant foot to the office air supply, is a poor choice.

        • bigmike7 says:

          Well, if it’s context dependent, I don’t get the point of the original comment. The context is a store that allows summer use of fancy flip-flops and probably encourages them or insists on them as they carry the same items.

      • Guest says:

        I’ll bet your friend is a man.

  31. Hollow says:

    Didn’t matter where I worked, every one had different standards. I spent 3 yrs being told that my “fashion” was wrong. But no one told me what was “right” either.  That’s called harassment.   I don’t work for companies that deal with the public, yet. My dress was “NEVER” correct, read I don’t wear skirts and dresses. I dressed nice, I was clean and I wore light makeup, but you couldn’t tell it by my boss.  Do you think they reimbursed me for 3 separate wardrobes to attempt to “fix” it? NO.  And every day my boss would ask why I was dressed “wrong”.  Did he fire me over it?  No, but I had to listen to him bitch.  EVERYDAY for 3 yrs.  When a better position came along I told him to fuck off that last day.

  32. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Oh, look.  A bunch of male commenters defending something telling women how they should dress.  Who could have possibly predicted that response?

    Also, why is it that the commenters who scream that nobody should complain about how businesses control their employees and customers are always the ones who scream bloody murder if one of their inappropriate comments disappears from a BB thread?

  33. bigmike7 says:

    I have done some research:

    The Baroque and Roll look is affected with lavish deployment of crushed velvet, jaquard and lace. Long, flared jackets over feminine camisoles and tight pants are offset with two or three dark and/or threatening accents: black fingernail polish, mean-looking or punk bracelets and in-your-face, exposed bra-straps. For evenings, an eye-patch might not be over-the-top. For daytime, a stilletto-tipped cane. Think Pirates of the Carribean. The Baroque-and-Roller looks and rakish and dangerous, but the opulent and rococo fabrics lets you know she’s feminine, sophisticated, and has the money and style to confidently play the street tramp.

    Neo-bourgois has a noisy or rock eclecticism, but ties everything together with soft, camel-hair brush colors and textures. Think capes over skinny jeans, summer scarves and thigh-high boots, long gloves and mocassins. It’s aggressively eclectic, but not without thoughtfulness and sensitivity. The palette of taupes and Mexican cocoa quietly screams “understatement”.

    It’s hard to imagine both of these looks in one boutique. Captain Jack Sparrow and Audrey Hepburn all rolled into one.

    • Nylund says:

      I recall an interview with Bret Easton Ellis talking about American Psycho.  In the book he had numerous passages that described every detail of everyone’s outfits, their obsession to detail, style, etc.  In the interview he made a comment about how it was lost on so many readers that if you actually put all those detailed descriptions together in your mind, you’d realize that the overall image created was utterly clownish mess of garish colors and patterns that was entirely unrealistic and silly.

      I thought of that when I read your descriptions.

    • Manny says:

      So Baroque ‘n Roll is basically Adam Ant? 

  34. NelC says:

    I want to know what the dress code is at Boingboing.

  35. Just_Ok says:

    For women, at least, shoes are more important than education. http://ca.news.yahoo.com/why-these-shoes-matter-more-than-an-m-b-a-.html

  36. thezarray says:

    What kills me is the opening line: “We are in our fall season…so dress like it” 
    I’ve lived in las Vegas, and there’s no fall; only ‘heat death’ and chancy ‘flash flood monsoon’.

    But atleast the thing wasn’t typed in Comic Sans

  37. Jandra says:

    I wonder if there’s a winter dress code too or just one for the summer/fall transition.

    • lunchcoma says:

      They likely have transitions 3-6 times a year, so yes, I’m sure that in December there will be a memo out reminding employees to start wearing their newest fall/winter items.

  38. lunchcoma says:

    The makeup and particularly the manicure/pedicure rules are over the top. Those things have little to do with the products the employees are selling, and as long as they’re neat, the store should let people groom themselves as they wish.

    The clothes rules? It sounds like this is a boutique that requires its sales representatives to wear its merchandise. It’s directing them toward three new lines and reminding them that they need to start phasing out pieces from last season’s looks. This is a financial burden on employees, but it’s one that they know they’re signing up for when they take jobs at those boutiques. Many of them are fans of the store in any case, and are working there in part for the clothing discounts.

    (Not that it’s terribly important, but I’m a woman and have spent a decent amount of time working in retail environments.)

  39. Lemoutan says:

    What I like about this post is that, if I’m ever in Vegas, I have a couple of signatures I can forge.

  40. falz says:

    This is common in high-end fashion and jewelry retailers. I used to sell fine jewelry for a company in NZ that demanded its female sales reps wear skirts (no pants), heels, at least 5 items of makeup and 3 items of jewelry. This was part of a contract we all had to sign, and they would enforce this policy by sending mystery shoppers to check up on us once a week.

    I didn’t mind it so much at first, but after awhile it started to feel very… degrading? Not the appearance standards specifically, but the fact that it was so zealously enforced.

    • Manny says:

      “at least 5 items of makeup” ? There are more than 5?

      • falz says:

        indeed.  The company I worked for actually hired an image consultant who did our colors for us, and advised us on many aspects of styling, including the use of makeup.  Her rules were that we must wear base/foundation, blush, lip color and that we must have our eyes done, which usually entails eyeliner, eye shadow and mascara.  All together the effect can be subtle and not as tacky as it sounds.  

        I never heard of an instance where an employee got in trouble for wearing less than the mandatory “5 items” – that’s just how it was written in the contract, and I think the main reason for it was to ensure that the girls maintained a professional, pulled-together appearance. 

        Just to add another few cents to the discussion:  In my experience (in sales, as well as my former role as a hotel concierge, anyway), when I take time with my appearance I am more apt to be taken seriously.  This doesn’t go for women only, either – good grooming is a valuable trait in either gender, especially when you are projecting a brand image and essentially modeling the clothes/jewelry/whatever so that customers can see how it is meant to be worn. 

  41. gwailo_joe says:

    Nice research bigmike7.  Still, Baroque and Roll=100% Harajuku innovation for my money.

    Still: if you are in the industry…play the part.  Dress up.  What’s wrong with that?

    And I’m not trying to keep a Sister down; when I shop for my mens’ crap; I like it if the salesman does not look like a wrinkled ragged recluse.  At least, if I shop at Nordstroms (or Old Navy for that matter) it would be a little unusual if the person helping me was busting out in Fubu or a Ramones T with ripped jeans.

    And as a matter of fact, yes, I do wish more people would dress up a little; I used to try wearing suits day-to-day, because I think it looks smart, especially with a jaunty fedora.  But I’m a blue-collar guy.  Every single time people would comment ‘oh wow, why are you dressed up?’

    I gave up the full suit for just a sportcoat, worn over a button shirt or plain t-shirt and jeans/slacks with real shoes..and STILL: ‘oh, you’re all dressed up!’  

    Whatevs…

  42. ripley says:

    it’s not “litigious” to fight for job security since we have so few protections against being arbitrarily fired (let alone fired for discrimination).

    Our society is litigious because that’s the only way most people have even a chance of fighting back against corporate power – because our government doesn’t limit corporate power hardly at all. So, we don’t have health insurance (or health insurance that actually covers our costs), so we have to sue if we are injured. We don’t have real protections for job security, so we may have to sue if we get fired in a way that violates our rights.

  43. unfocused says:

    This particular dress code seems far less restrictive than that of Cory’s favorite company, Disney, doesn’t it? 

    Signing policy memos is very common, almost standard across the business world. 

    I don’t see the trouble here, and don’t fully understand why this is posted here. 

    Unless to point out that it was OK to wear flip-flops to a high end retailer over this last summer.  That’s the only unusual thing I see here.   What retailer allows flip-flops?

  44. ratpat13 says:

    It has nothing to do with the fact that the company has a dress code, it has everything to do with how it’s written (the, if you we had to tell you your an idiot, tone). I hope they the pay rate matches the requirement.

  45. herestoyou says:

    This isn’t really unusual for a fashion retail store.

  46. travtastic says:

    That’s about the hundredth time someone has made a comment saying that retail always treats their employees poorly, and that’s not the point.

    The point is that it takes a complete lack of empathy to treat other adults like they’re children. I would probably consider it beyond the pale to take that tone with actual children.

    I know it may be difficult, but please try to take an ethical stand when it’s warranted, even if it’s just on the internet.

  47. Tommy Timefishblue says:

    You can tell a lot about how good someone is at their job by how professionally they dress.

    http://ampeatermusic.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/07/Steve-Jobs-001.jpg

  48. Jon Sowden says:

    Yes; it’s their business. Yes; they can do what they want. Yes; some ephemeral brand is more important than human dignity (really?!). Yes; if staff don’t like it they should go find another job blah blah

    But, if they want staff to wear what amounts to a uniform; have a damn uniform. If they demand staff wear the latest fashions; provide them with Deauville, Baroque n’ Roll, and Neo-Bourgeois items off the rack.

    Otherwise; meet teh internets, just be aware you might not enjoy the experience.

    Free speech works in /both/ directions.

  49. Red Monk says:

    Ferengi Rule of Acquistion #47: “Never trust a man wearing a better suit than your own”

  50. bo1n6bo1n6 says:

    Christ! what an asshole! Probably a bleached one.

  51. Razzabeth says:

    I worked for the Gap for a couple months. This is a very normal memo from any kind of clothing company, boutique or not.

  52. blueelm says:

    Not all ad hominems are fallacy, questioning the ability of people who do not have to live with a set of expectations that are particularly stupid and expensive on a salary that is likely less than the very people who do not have to live with that particular set of stupid expectations could be classed as an ad hom but it isn’t really fallacious. No more fallacious than saying the same when some one says “so what if gays can’t get married, they can get civil partnerships” and is asked whether it’s easier to have this attitude since they’ll never have to deal with it. Yes, everyone in retail can just get another job! That’s it! And really, it’s not that much to ask. Just 50 a month for a mani/pedi or otherwise 30 a month and a few hours out of your free time for which you aren’t paid. And hair costs, and that new wardrobe. Blah blah blah. I get it as a woman and I work in freaking IT. I used to circumvent it in my poor days by working in a ghetto store in a ghetto mall. Pay was crap, but a full set of front teeth counted for a lot.

    • Ethan says:

      Sure, perhaps there is some underlining merit to pointing out that men are less likely to understand the cost of a pedicure, etc. But to my thinking civil discourse (which I’m assuming the moderator is here to promote) means not negating someone’s argument simply because of who they are.

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        But to my thinking civil discourse (which I’m assuming the moderator is here to promote) means not negating someone’s argument simply because of who they are.

        Would you be willing to extend that to, say, an infectious disease specialist versus Jenny McCarthy?

        If you haven’t been forced to wear make-up, wear a skirt, wear pantyhose, shave your legs, etc., you are less qualified to comment, and your defense of rules that don’t apply to you is naturally suspect.

        • Forkboy says:

          > If you haven’t been forced to wear make-up, wear a skirt, wear pantyhose, shave your legs, etc., you are less qualified to comment, and your defense of rules that don’t apply to you is naturally suspect.

          I have been forced to wear a suit. Does that qualify me ? Let me put it in a different way : my job requires me to dress a certain way sometimes to avoid cognitive dissonance in the clients. Oh the horror ! The job description here doesn’t require anyone to become a sex object, it just stipulates they advance the style(s) the store is trying to promote and  to not have an unkempt appearance. It’s perfectly reasonable.

          • Guest says:

            Apples and oranges. A suit (loose, comfortable, black, gray or brown, non-sexualizing) does not equal boutique undies and bras, designer blouses, skirts, hose, high heels (all sexualizing, restrictive and uncomfortable, as well as unhealthy- those high heels destroy feet!), makeup, hair removal… etc. You really have no idea what you’re talking about.

        • Jack Majewski says:

          We can cut that another way and say that most of us here haven’t been managers in high fashion boutiques, or employees for that matter. That can kill all conversation, because none of us would be qualified to comment.

          However, many of us have been employees or managers in places with stringent dress codes and grooming standards, whether stated or implied, that often included out-of-pocket expenditures for things that we might or might not have had otherwise.

          At any rate, the laugh here should be the “crazy, crazy” manager and the insanely worded memo. 

        • Ethan says:

          I would… If an infectious disease specialist is going to argue with Jenny McCarthy’s position, I’d prefer to hear about the evidence that inoculations do not cause autism–and not just have the disease specialist dismiss it out of hand because the most visible proponent is an actress. 

        • Ethan says:

          Antinous wrote: 

          If you haven’t been forced to wear make-up, wear a skirt, wear pantyhose, shave your legs, etc., you are less qualified to comment, and your defense of rules that don’t apply to you is naturally suspect.

          I think this is a problematic idea. I think it’s certainly worth bringing in the conversation the idea that some folks might not be considering all the facts or seeing the big picture… But do we really want to follow the rule you’re suggesting? If so, think about all the categories you, Antinous, don’t fit and shouldn’t comment on:

          * You can comment on issues regarding only your own sexual orientation
          * You can comment on issues regarding your race only
          * You can comment on issues regarding your religion only
          etc.

          If it’s about conversation, then we need to be open to other people’s opinions being valid. That doesn’t mean that everyone’s opinion is right (to be sure), just that there’s no automatic wrong because of who they are.

          It strikes me as incredibly odd that someone’s whose job is to promote interesting & civil conversation is against the generally-respected viewpoint of ad hominem arguments are weak/rude.

          Edit: Also, it’s interesting that you’re presenting the ad hominem as only working towards your point of view. Shouldn’t the fact that you think the dress code is out-of-line be irrelevant because you’re a man and don’t really understand what it’s like, either? :)

          • surreality says:

            He said “less qualified” to comment, not “disqualified”. You can throw around “ad hominem” all you want, but it’s not like he name-called.

            Honestly, this might be radical, but I’m very offended by the fact that just because I am a woman I should be required to wear makeup. Even if I were working in a fashion boutique. Yes, I understand a nice appearance. I’d even be willing to let “mani/pedi” go if what they meant by that was “trimmed and nice-looking nails”. But requiring nail polish/makeup… sure, if she’s a private business owner I suppose she can do that. But I’m offended at the idea that I have to wear makeup to be considered looking “nice”. I just don’t wear it. It shouldn’t be necessary to be considered nicely dressed. It’s a double standard.

          • Guest says:

            Don’t wear makeup, never have. Never will. Don’t need it! Well, unless I want a good job or something… :/

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            I think this is a problematic idea.

            Of course you think it’s a problematic idea. You’re in the position of privilege and you don’t want anything to get in the way of your defense of the status quo.  I didn’t say that you shouldn’t comment, just that people who defend rules that don’t apply to them will be mocked.

            Complete cluelessness about what other groups have to deal with is one of the main symptoms of privilege.  You’re saying that you get to offer your opinion, but nobody gets to point out how uninformed it is.  You’re arguing against free speech (for anyone but you and your cronies) there.

          • Ethan says:

            You’re saying that you get to offer your opinion, but nobody gets to point out how uninformed it is.

            Honestly, my main issue is with tone. It’s easy to make the points you’re trying to make without going on the attack or trying to disenfranchise people’s voices based simply on who they are.

            Yes, I think you have a point that men do not tend to run into dress codes (either explicit or implicit) as much as women–and when they do it tends to be markers of power rather than sexualization (tie vs. skirt). But there’s a difference between pointing out folks might be missing something because of their background vs. trying to say they have no ground to stand on because of who they are. I’d also point out that it doesn’t appear to be an issue where folks are lining up based on their sex–several women have voiced an opinion that the rules seem reasonable [or at least not unexpected in a fashion boutique].

            You’re a man, yet you’re able to see the possibility that this might be a gender issue. Surely it’s possible that other guys can do the same, yet not share your conclusion. Holding the position that men’s opinion on the matter are invalid–unless they share your own male perspective–is a bit teetery.

            Finally, the problem with ad hominem arguments is it can devolve into arguments about who has the right to weigh in and can get a bit silly (does having been in the army–with it’s very strict dress code–give someone the credentials to have an opinion on this matter without the moderator mocking them?).

        • Guest says:

          THANK YOU.

      • ripley says:

        Civil discourse is not the same as productive discourse, is it? Because people can civilly hold forth on things they know nothing about.

        Or maybe that isn’t actually so civil?
        If a majority of the comments are by people who don’t have the experience that is being discussed (intense focus on your bodily appearance as a measure of your worth) does that negate or lessen the participation of people who actually do know more, or whose lives may be more commonly affected by this problem? If so, is it actually civil to participate?

        Is it considerate to dominate the discussion despite the presence of people who may have more knowledge than you do? To add yet another low-value voice to a discussion thus limiting participation of others whose contributions might be?

        sometimes it’s good to wait and see what other voices chime in, to consider what exactly the value-added of your contribution is – especially if many of the voices already parrot (consciously or not) the dominant social order whereby women’s bodies are policed for public and private (corporate) good..

        I’m not sure participation, on principle, without such considerations, is necessarily so civil.

  53. Tim Escobedo says:

    For a moment, I thought this dress code was intended for the customers. But for employees? Sorry, Cory. This is not control freaky. For most people, working for a living involves complying with things that they would never do normally. If one cannot bear the rules laid down by an employer, one finds work doing something else. Life sucks that way. 

  54. Ambiguity says:

    I work at a University. We have a dress code too.

    The worst part of it is we’re not allowed to wear flip-flops either. Oh, the horror!

    [Also, for those who claim that making the employees sign something like this... if you're a large corporation or a publicly traded company, you had better make sure your employees sign receipt and understanding of corporate policies. Just ask any employment lawyer.]

    • bigmike7 says:

      I have to comply to a dress code and I had to sign a statement. I have no resentments. The dress code probably even came about partly because I was wearing shorts. But the statement I signed didn’t have comments like “You are supposed to be a professional and exhibit piety. TRY TO NOT LOOK LIKE A WHORE OF BABYLON.” On the other hand, our manager still enjoys her admin. assistant wearing baby-doll dresses or tight leather dominatrix skirts and stilletto heels, even though it is a religious institution. I don’t complain because someone might as well be looking sexy and hot around here as long as I’m having to sweat in my horrible Dockers, fighting crotch yeast in this humid environment with no air conditioning.

      What bothers me about this statement is the crappy management style that covers incompetence with meanness. The reason she’s having to write “this should be a no-brainer” is that she failed to put the memo out before the fall season started. Then probably the regional manager paid a visit or is about to so she covers her ass by blaming her employees for not reading her mind.

      I think being respectful to others, especially if one is in a position
      of power, is everything. There is no reason to treat people rudely.

      To address your point, the first half of this memo is legally useless. “Dress like it’s fall” and “our themes are Deauville” don’t mean anything legally and, most importantly, don’t give employees much help in satifying or navigating the arbitrary whims of the manager. I don’t see anything wrong with the second half, regarding make-up and nail care, even though manicures and pedicures seem overkill and financially burdensome. At least these expectations are clear.

      • Guest says:

        ‘I don’t complain because someone might as well be looking sexy and hot
        around here as long as I’m having to sweat in my horrible Dockers,
        fighting crotch yeast in this humid environment with no air
        conditioning.’ Yep, as long as it isn’t you that has to ‘look sexy’. I’m sure you don’t complain. How noble of you. /s 

  55. grimc says:

    A dress code for a fashion boutique doesn’t seem all that weird.

    What does seem weird is the plastic sleeve it’s in. Is it whipped out that often that it needs the preserving qualities of clear vinyl?

    • falz says:

      It’s probably in some sort of employee handbook that they keep behind the register.

    • bigmike7 says:

      “What does seem weird is the plastic sleeve it’s in. Is it whipped out
      that often that it needs the preserving qualities of clear vinyl?”

      I noticed that, too. Is it there to fetishize the signing ritual and make permanent the threat of further humiliation, or is its only purpose to mask lack of managerial talent with an over-liberal use of office supplies?

  56. Michael Longstaff says:

    Best part about this is that multiple Stacys work in this establishment, requiring differentiation.

  57. Andrew Singleton says:

    only thing i really get riled about is the wording like ‘i’m having to teach you idiots the company rules… again.’

    Other than that. I can agree with having to brand by having a set image (at least they only left it at ‘dark jeans’ rather than a specific brand of dark jeans for example. Even having to sign it I get because that means the bean counters can go through ‘oh so and so hasn’t agreed to our new policy.’ 

    The snide wording though, unprofessional.

  58. Kerouac says:

    I think you’re a bit out of touch with this one, Cory.  This is one of the LEAST offensive dress codes I’ve seen.  (As an HR pro, I have seen – and written – quite a few.)

  59. BarBarSeven says:

    Ceasar’s Palance? What is that? Jack Palance’s casino?

  60. sparr0w says:

    I used to work for a place that quite literally specified the specific pantone colors that were acceptable for wearing at work. Bracelets were not allowed, no hoop/dangle earrings, only pearls/diamond studs, and only a strand of pearls or a chain and small and simple pendant. They had minimum and maximum skirt lengths, and you were required to shave every day and wear pantyhose. Good times.

    I find this far less annoying.

  61. thepod says:

    Ok, sure.. this is fairly amusing.

    What bothers me, though, is that the names/signatures were not blurred or masked.  I don’t think it would have been any less amusing if this were done.  Ditto for mentioning the specific casino name.

    As it is, there is now an image being passed around that might get someone in trouble with their job (if Anna can ascertain who left this sheet laying about).

  62. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Since the above-pictured missive begins with, “As this is Fall…no more flip flops”, that suggests that it has less to do with dressing for success or to please the posh clientele and more to do with Kathleen Turner beating Patty Hearst to death for wearing white shoes after Labor Day.

  63. unklstuart says:

    My motto – “Beware of any job that requires you to buy new clothes.”

    • Mark Dow says:

      Derived from “I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.”, Henry David Thoreau in Walden

  64. tiamat_the_red says:

    I have a problem with the tone of the memo, but not the content (I’m a woman).  I’d be a little dismayed if I walked into a high end boutique and sales clerks were in jeans and ratty tees but would probably not know if they weren’t in “this season’s” fashions.  On the other hand, if they look trendy, I’m far more likely to believe them when they tell me the usual lies of “you look great in that!” or “This is THE big thing this season,” so I can kind of see the manager’s point.

    And am I the only one who does her own mani/pedis?  I would have assumed that the mani/pedi requirement was just the manager’s irritating way of requiring that your nails be well groomed and both finger and toe-nails must be painted rather than an actual requirement to go to a salon.  It’s not like it’s hard to groom your nails.

  65. purple-stater says:

     Signatures-required isn’t “control freaky”, it’s so that unruly employees can’t claim that they were unaware of the rules.

  66. Stef of Ing says:

    Dress codes are ridiculous but I wouldn’t say this was so extreme. I used to work in a London office where, like a lot of offices, you pretty much don’t see anyone but the same co-workers everyday.
    Yet the dress code insisted on not only shirt (tucked in) and tie but also “business belt” – whatever the hell that is!
    (As ever, this only applied to men!)

  67. RJ says:

    The wording is abrasive, which makes the act of having to sign it all the more annoying. I can imagine some shrill fashion maven (female or male) typing this out while speaking it in their irritating inner monologue.

    Ultimately, as others have said, it’s not really unusual stuff for a retail business. But I do agree that it looks controlling and annoying to anyone whose job doesn’t depend on pleasing the managerial idiot.

  68. futnuh says:

    Who is responsible for hiring the front-line staffers who didn’t intuit the need to dress commensurate with their jobs? Send a memo to *that* person …

  69. Perizade says:

    The biggest flaw I see in that dress code are the manicures/pedicures. If you aren’t wearing open-toed shoes, I see no need for pedicures. Unkempt nails can look ghastly and dirty, but getting tips is a big faux pas too. Look at Vogue and try to find one model wearing tips. You probably won’t see them wearing nail polish, either. Swing and a miss, management. You left a HUGE flaw in your controlling dress code! (The rest of it seems reasonable).

  70. Donaleen Kohn says:

    So, are these women being paid for the time it takes to put on makeup and keep their nail polish looking good?  Are they being reimbursed for the expense of the clothing, makeup, etc?  I bet they aren’t being paid enough per hour to cover such expenses.  I find the whole thing very annoying and downright sexist.

  71. heatherc says:

    While I understand the ‘don’t come to work unkempt rule,’ this does seem a bit much. A lot much. Manicures and pedicures don’t come cheap.

    Style themes?  Neo-bourgeois is a very ’80s apes the 60s’ look that means you end up dry-cleaning or buying clothes that won’t wear well into another season. Deauville is ‘beach elegant,’ which means that you’ll have a hard time wearing it anywhere else (and why on earth do beach elegant in the desert?). And baroque n’roll…think a Prince music video.

    The real problem with working at a place that declares themes is that you end up buying several pairs of pants, skirts, and a bunch of tops and cheap accessories that are dated quickly. And you’re unlikely to wear them again. So you have a useless wardrobe that can’t be worn to the next job. And if you have new themes at THAT job, you’re stuck spending money on work clothes all over again. Or if you have two jobs at the same time – well, you get the picture.

    Unless the pay is fantastic – and I doubt it is – you’re asking your staff to lay out hundreds of dollars in useless clothing for a ‘theme’ that won’t be repeated next season, and as an employer, it’s irresponsible (I’d go so far as to say unethical, but ymmv). Better to ask employees – male and female – to dress in black, say – and decide whether or not you want to ask female staff to wear dresses with sleeves or pant suits, and stop worrying so much about their toes.

  72. heatherc says:

    Oh, and not to mention – setting these arbitrary themes and requirements can be discriminatory. I wonder how well a hijab wearing applicant is received at places like this?

  73. m0000 says:

    The rule that female employees must wear makeup, for example, is not uncommon in NYC bars. Sexist nonsense.

  74. graymerica says:

    Have you ever seen the PDF of the the UBS bank dress code.  It is 43 pages long. 

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704694004576019783931381042.html

    It boggles my mind that anyone would find requiring clothing retailer sales people to dress properly and to stay on brand offensive in any way. 

    What woman, who is willing to pay the insane mark up of buy clothes in a Vegas casino,  would buy $400 jeans from a frumpy girl with flipflops on?   Fashion is about selling aspiration and the staff needs to look the part.

    I was in a Gucci store in Charleston, SC last week and everyone in there was dressed to the exact same standards as each other.   Only difference was the style of black shoes and the fold in their pocket squares.   You know they have an official documented style manual.

  75. graymerica says:

    I guess you could replace woman with “sales person” in my comment and get the same result.   I would assume that if the store employs men, that they have to be clean shaven, well groomed and have clear skin.  Men can be frumpy as well.  

  76. Perizade says:

    I hated working in retail clothing stores. I was expected to put my meager paycheck back into the store for a skimpy discount of (full price only) clothes to wear to work. To promote the products, of course. Retail clothing stores, makeup stores, etc are all inherently shallow. There’s no reason to expect that the workers won’t be required to be dressed in trendy clothes with full hair and makeup. Even the men are expected to be fit, handsome and young, well dressed and clean shaven. I personally hate it, and that’s why I didn’t pursue retail as a career.

  77. Sheryl says:

    This is a fashion store so I expect them to have dress code requirements. I think the requirements are overly strict, especially for what working retail usually pays, but it’s the language of that memo that makes me angry. There is NO excuse for management being condescending and demeaning to it’s workers when sending out an update on the dress code.

  78. ackpht says:

    Agree. I’d sort of expect someone working in a fashion store to (at least appear to) have an interest in fashion, the same way I’d expect someone working in an auto-parts store to have an interest in auto parts. But the tone of the memo is needlessly high-handed and is likely to generate resentment among the employees- a sign of inept management.

  79. Jaan says:

    For years I’ve been living by a saying I heard years ago; take high creativity, low dress code jobs.  I might not make much, but I enjoy life.

  80. Ethan says:

    I guess what also is bugging me a bit about the flow of the conversation is that there seemed to be a bit an unintential discussion jujitsu. 

    I think most of the original comments were questioning whether this the code is so surprising (a smaller number questioning whether it was so control freaky). That isn’t the same thing as saying it isn’t sexist, that the gender expectations society has of us can be annoying, etc. Saying something isn’t unexpected or unusual isn’t the same thing as supporting it.

  81. TokenCapitalist says:

    As others have said, when a business deals primarily with “image”, then this makes perfect sense. Yes it’s detailed, but so what? Leadership is setting clear expectations for how employees project the brand’s image to clients.

  82. This is maybe too “Freaky-” for a number of the spergy track pants pokemon t-shirt wearing crowd, but many business have dress standards.  Casual Fridays needs more guidance like this!  I’m tired of hot pants and Daisy Dukes, and that is just the guys!!!

  83. Gloria Yip says:

    Well, damn, this thread grew.

    One point: A lot of comments complain about how this directive costs employees money. Well, yes, buying clothes does. But nowhere in the memo does it say anything about what brand to buy or whether these clothes must be “designer.” You can buy decent dark jeans at Old Navy for $35. You can also wear dark jeans easily in other parts of your life if that works for you.

    Stipulating manicures and pedicures does not *necessarily* mean going to a nail salon. Again, the memo doesn’t say anything about professional services. I assume it simply means you must trim your nails regularly and paint them, and ensure your feet are buffed, etc. Several of the women at my office who get their nails done tend to do a mix of treating themselves to a service or doing it themselves most of time.

    It looks like open-toed shoes aren’t mandated (at least for now … maybe in summer?) but isn’t an easy way to circumvent the pedicure rule just to wear closed shoes?

    Re: the sexism line, I’d buy that more if I wasn’t familiar with the contempt of OTHER WOMEN when it comes to my lack of make-up. Caveat: SOME of these women are pretty catty when it comes to judging other women. Many are not. But there are definitely enough that I and probably a lot of other women feel as pressured to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak. I definitely feel funny when women make comments like, “I went out without make-up today, I felt so weird/totally exposed/naked/unfinished” etc.

    I completely agree that a lot of the pressure is based on male approval, but a lot of women really, really like make-up. They love it. They feel it’s something they want and need. Is this because of men? Well, undeniably it makes them feel like they look good, so partly, maybe.

    Flip side: Myself, I prefer wearing dresses and skirts and like handbags and wearing nice shoes — some hallmarks of what’s considered traditionally feminine or perhaps attractive. All the same, I really would not appreciate if someone told me I was oppressing other women through those choices. (Frankly, I think pants are kind of oppressive, but that’s another story….)

    I don’t think I should feel guilty for making particular aesthetic choices in my life, so while I resent the pressure created by men and other women, I try to put it in perspective.

  84. Gloria Yip says:

    Also, I’d point out that “dark denim jeans only” seems to apply only if you wear jeans. The fashion issue is probably that right now, dark denim is de rigeur and looks “classiest.” This is speculation but I imagine the people who work here can probably wear grey or black or navy trousers, etc. as long as they were professional.

    No word on high heels is a plus, frankly.

  85. Halloween_Jack says:

    You think these rules are crazy, you should have seen the ones that my brother’s former employer had. They didn’t tell him what styles to wear; they told him exactly what clothes to wear, at precisely which times, and even had insanely specific rules about the bits of “flair” that he was to wear on his clothing regarding precise placement. And grooming? Oh, man–things like how long he could wear his hair, down to the millimeter.

    He was in the Navy.

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